My co-worker and I had an interesting conversation last night. This discussion centered around whether or not people can actually change. Trying to be open minded, we disagreed on one’s ability to overcome previous addictions, bad habits and poor character. While I try to be optimistic, hoping that people reach their full potential, human nature has a way of reverting individuals back to childish ways. This pattern tends to lead the guilty to confess, “oops I did it again.”
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out, Romans 7:18.
Based upon previous experiences, Harvey tends to believe that people never change. Although there will be initial signs of transformation, positive steps in the right direction usually do not last. Sooner or later, bad habits return, ensnaring many in life long addictions. This reality is supported by the words of the apostle Paul in a letter to the church of Rome. While it’s unclear what aspect of life this passage is referring to, Paul shares his own internal struggle with fleshly desires. Since Paul doesn’t declare victory, it’s possible that this apostle fought a losing battle with temptation for years.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it, 1 Corinthians 10:13.
My belief in the ability to change lies in the passage above. I spent many years as a child and teenager saying, “oops I did it again.” Yet, the apostle Paul provides a blueprint above for anyone feeling defeated. In order to succeed, you must expect the unexpected. In this context, temptations are lurking around every corner, luring you to appease your fleshly desire. However, if you want to resist, be alert, looking for an escape route. Until you reach this point, any little victories will be short lived. Therefore, if you want to put your childish ways behind you, 1 Corinthians 13:11, ask God for discernment so that change will occur with one good decision at a time.
by Jay Mankus